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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits to entering the LOUIEs?

There are many! Here are just a few...

  • Great industry experts who serve as judges and look at each and every card. Judges include buyers, retailers, members of the press, sales reps, and others looking for the best new cards and stationery.
  • Captivating LOUIE Exhibit of finalists and winners prominently featured in the Javits Center during the National Stationery Show®. The exhibit is packed with show attendees, reps, and consumers every year in this public and high traffic location.
  • Beautifully printed awards gala program available at the show, complete with photos and company information for all finalists’ cards. Show attendees have a handy take-away reference as to which companies were recognized by the awards.

What are the LOUIEs?

Named for German-born lithographer Louis Prang, who is credited with the birth of the American Christmas card in the 1870s, the LOUIEs are often referred to as the “Oscars” of the greeting card industry. Now, the LOUIEs celebrate the best and the brightest in the industry by awarding winning cards and companies in various categories based on a ten-point scale and specific criteria.

What is the timeline and requirements for submissions?

  • The Call for Entry is sent and submissions are received until December 16, 2016.
  • Judging takes place in conjunction with NY NOW® in early February
  • The finalists for each category are made public in mid-February, and winners are announced at a fabulous celebration the evening of May 21, 2017, in New York City.
  • In order to enter your submission, a card must have been marketed or sold in the U.S. during the 2016 calendar year and come  from a total combined run of 200 or more (50 or more in the case of Invitations, Announcements, and Photo Cards).
  • No samples or prototypes are accepted.
  • No cards that have been entered in previous years may be re-entered, except in the category of Rising Star.

How does judging work?

  • Judges score each entry from 1 to 10 based on five criteria: originality, impact, design excellence, sendability and value.
  • Entrants conceal company information and distinguishing features of cards so that the judging is as fair and unbiased as possible.

How much does it cost to enter the LOUIEs?

  • Entry fees are $55 for GCA members and $75 for nonmembers. (Prices increase by $10 for each category after November 11th, 2016)
  • If you are not a GCA member but are interested in becoming one, visit www.greetingcard.org or call 202.216.9627 for more information.

How many cards am I allowed to enter?

  • You may enter as many cards as you’d like in as many categories as you wish.
  • Any number of cards may be entered in a single category, but only the highest scoring card from a company will be selected as a finalist in each category.
  • You may enter the same card in multiple categories, but it will only be eligible for becoming a finalist in the category in which it receives the highest score. The exceptions to this rule are Rising Star, Print and Production Excellence, and Letterpress categories.

How are the cards divided within the categories?

  • Cards are divided by price within the categories. Each category has an above and below division. The price break for most categories is $4.00 and Below and Above $4.00, though some categories differ.
  • Please click here for details.

How do I enter the LOUIE Awards?

What if my wedding invitation suite uses a printing method not listed?

Use your best judgment to decide if the card fits better with the more costly methods listed under Classic or with the less expensive methods under standard. If you can’t determine, contact us to ask for help at 202.216.9627 or gca@greetingcard.org.

Should I include an example photo in samples submitted in the personalized photo card category?

You must include an example photo in samples submitted in the personalized photo card category.

What are the qualifications for the Rising Star category?

Your company must have been in business for three years or fewer to be considered for the Rising Star category. Since judging will take place in early 2017, you must have launched your business on or after January 1, 2014, to be eligible. We require that you submit five of your company’s cards in the Rising Star category so that the judges can evaluate your collection as a whole, however, you only pay one fee for the entry.

Why is there no price break for the Superbly Stated or Most Humorous categories?

There is no price break because cards in these categories are evaluated on their wording and sentiment in conjunction with their design, so the emphasis is not on the bells and whistles of the card but rather the idea behind it.

How are the Cards of the Year selected?

On the final day of judging, the Blue Ribbon Panel reviews the winners of each category and after careful discussion, selects a Card of the Year in the above and below price points.

Are categories ever closed?

Yes, there must be a minimum of seven total entries from four different companies to keep a category open. If a category closes, there will be an attempt to redistribute the cards in that category to another category with a similar description by contacting the companies who submitted cards in those categories that close. Cards that cannot be redistributed satisfactorily will have the entry fees refunded.

How many samples should I send?

  • You only need to send one sample for each card at the time of entry, but we will require 4 more samples if your card is chosen as a finalist (five in the case of invitations).
  • Entries to the Rising Star category must include five different cards, and Letterpress must include three different cards so that the judges may evaluate the line as a whole.

Do I have to do anything to my card samples before sending them?

  • Detailed instructions are included in the Checklist for Mailing your Entries.
  • Conceal all references to your company on the card using thick cardstock.
  • Write lightly in pencil the SKU or style number from your entry form along with the MSRP. The price should reflect the actual retail price of the card, not the category price break.
  • All samples must be received at the GCA Headquarters by January 6, 2017.

What should I include when I send in my entries?

  • A printout of your entry application, which you can download after you checkout and pay for your entries.
  • One sample of each entry with the back of card completely concealed with thick white cardstock, and SKU number and pricing information written lightly in pencil.
  • Also include the envelope sold with your card.
  • For the Card Set categories, please include the entire box or package as sold.
  • For wedding invitations, please include the entire suite.

More details about mailing your samples for judging are found in the: Checklist for Mailing Your Entries

Where should I send my entry samples?

Entries should be sent to: GCA Headquarters, 1444 I (Eye) Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005.

Once I send in my entries, what happens?

GCA staff will code and catalog your entries to get them ready for judging. You do not need to follow up–if there is a discrepancy or question, we will contact you. If you haven’t heard from us by early January about your samples, please contact us. Otherwise, hang tight and wait for the finalists to be announced in mid-February!

Can I have an extension on the deadline?

We may be able to accommodate a limited number of deadline extensions. Please contact us to request an extension and let us know the categories you are hoping to enter.

Who should I contact with questions?

If you have a question, please contact us at 202.216.9627 or gca@greetingcard.org.